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Clashes With Militants Kill 4 Pakistani Troops Near Afghan Border

North Waziristan, Pakistan

Pakistan confirmed Friday that four of its soldiers were killed in a gun battle with militants near the Afghan border.

The clash erupted when Pakistani troops raided a Pakistani Taliban hideout in the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan border district, according to a military statement.

The statement said security forces had captured “one terrorist along with weapons and ammunition” and lost four personnel in an intense exchange of fire that followed the raid.

Friday’s military statement did not share further details about the deadly encounter, which multiple sources said had occurred the day before.

The outlawed Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, confirmed in a Thursday statement that security forces had raided its base in the Waziristan area. It claimed the ensuing clashes had killed several Pakistani troops but did not inflict any TTP casualties.

Meanwhile, officials said Friday the death toll from an overnight roadside bombing in Quetta, the capital of southeastern Baluchistan province, had risen to at least six passersby.

There were no claims of responsibility for the attack that injured more than a dozen people, all civilians.

Baluchistan, the sparsely populated, natural resource-rich province, routinely experiences militant attacks against Pakistani security forces and civilians. The violence is often claimed by separatist Baluch militant groups, TTP and occasionally by extremists linked to the Islamic State group.

Authorities in Pakistan say TTP leaders plan anti-state activities from sanctuaries in Afghanistan after fleeing years of military operations against their strongholds on the Pakistani side.

Thousands of Pakistanis, including security forces, have been killed in TTP-claimed suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks over the past years.

The United States and the United Nations have listed TTP as a global terrorist group.

Pakistan recently engaged TTP militants in peace talks with the help of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, leading to a 30-day cease-fire.

The TTP, however, refused to extend the truce after it expired in early December, accusing Pakistani authorities of breaching terms of the deal. Since then, the group has resumed attacks on Pakistani troops and police forces, particularly in districts next to the Afghan border.